MR imaging of the brain in patients with hepatic form of Wilson's disease

Eur J Neurol. 2003 Sep;10(5):587-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-1331.2003.00661.x.


The aim of this study was to detect the sites and frequency of possible lesions by brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; 1,5T) in a group of 16 neurologically asymptomatic patients with hepatic form of Wilson's disease (WD; seven untreated and nine under treatment). Abnormal MR findings of the brain were found in 75% of patients. Lesions in brain parenchyma were detected in all untreated, drug-naive patients and in 44% of treated patients. Abnormal signal in globus pallidus, putamen, and caudate nucleus was revealed in 86, 71 and 71% of treated and in 33, 33 and 22% of untreated patients, respectively. In five of eight patients with putaminal pathology (62.5%) and in four of seven patients with caudate nuclei involvement (57%), only proton density 2-weighted sequence (PDW) exhibited sensitivity for lesion detection, with both T1W and long echo T2W sequences being insensitive. This superiority of PDW sequence was even more pronounced in the group of untreated patients in whom 80% of putaminal pathology was visible exclusively on this sequence. The lower frequency of lesions in the group of treated in comparison with untreated patients indicated that they might be reversible in the course of chronic chelating therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male